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Now I Lay Me Down to Rest

Today’s Reflection

I BET WE ALL said this prayer as children: “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” While I understand the sentiment, there’s something about ending the day focused on death that unsettles me. I want my kids to rest well, assured that their futures in heaven are safe and secure because of the work of Jesus on the cross and his invitation of love in their lives. I’d rather they boldly claim that promise instead of making a timid request each night just to be safe.

I’d rather look back on a day with my kids and celebrate all that God has done, recount the places where we saw God, invite God’s peace into our hearts as we rest, and place tomorrow into God’s care. “If I die before I wake” can cause a “Just in case I’m not right with God, I better get this in” mindset when God has made us right already. God has claimed us, promised us a future in heaven, and empowered us to live with joy instead of fear.

—Jenny Youngman
Scrambled Starts: Family Prayers for Morning, Bedtime, and Everything in Between

From page 32 of Scrambled Starts: Family Prayers for Morning, Bedtime, and Everything in Between by Jenny Youngman. Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Do you have a bedtime prayer habit?  Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall never be shaken.
—Psalm 62:1-2, NRSV

Prayer for the Week

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. (Traditional Doxology)

Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Something more

Looking for a special way to celebrate Mom this Mother’s Day? Give a gift in her honor to your favorite Upper Room ministry.

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Gail May 9, 2019, 6:41 am

    Sometimes I have a mental list of people who have illness or needs that were named in Bible Study. Somtimes I recite the 23rd Psalm. Sometimes I name particular fears along with the notion that perfect love casts out fear. My default is “Now I lay me down to sleep….” I also give thanks for specfic things or people from the day.

  • Jill May 9, 2019, 7:17 am

    I do not have a bedtime prayer habit. Once I eat dinner and slow down for the evening, my mind becomes mush. I am only able to watch tv mindlessly. I can’t even concentrate enough to read a good book.
    However, when I am unable to sleep, I do drift in and out of prayer, usually name people and their situations.
    Speaking of nighttime and sleep, I am grateful to be sleeping well these past several nights. Grateful for time spent with a few friends yesterday, shopping at a local nursery and then they helped me unload the dogwood tree and hydrangea at dad’s place. Also – I received the book “The Valley of Vision” from my Wednesday evening small group. It is a collection of Puritan prayers. I had never heard of it, but a quick perusal has me feeling that this will be a staple of my morning time. Grateful for the thoughtfulness of my small group. And, when I arrived home last evening, my uncle had unloaded 16 bags of mulch in my yard where we are going to be landscaping.
    Prayers for the concerns of the UR family. Robert – hope the condo purchase gets finalized soon.

  • Bonnie May 9, 2019, 7:34 am

    We just changed it when the girls were small to “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I wake up before it’s light, help me back to sleep tonight,” followed by some things we were thankful for that day. My daughter is now doing that with my grandson. 🙂

  • Margie May 9, 2019, 7:38 am

    I know it’s trendy to disparage “ Now I lay me down to sleep”, but I take umbrage with the opinion that it leaves you in a state of fear because “if I should die before I wake” is scary. On the contrary, it brought me great peace and assurance that God was looking over me through the night. I was taught that death is a part of life, but because of my sincere faith and trust in an all powerful creator, I was never alone and “if I should die”, I will be with Him.

  • robert moeller May 9, 2019, 7:48 am

    Thank you, Jill, for your condo related prayer. I’m thankful you are sleeping better and hope that is true for your Dad and Becky. Wonderful the support you have from family and friends.

    My off to sleep prayers were not the same as those mentioned here, but I don’t remember the exact words. These days I pray thankfully for the blessings of the day.

    I pray that the “troubles” going on in the US capital are soon resolved and other pressing issues can be addressed. Prayers for the needs and concerns of the UR family, those facing natural disaster, and for peace in homes and around the world. Thank You, Lord.

  • Julie May 9, 2019, 8:00 am

    This is the prayer we said at night when I was young and it did disconcert me as a young child. Now I pray for different people and their needs as well as those who have expressed trouble sleeping through the night.
    Prayers for Andrea’s friend Sharon, may the ENT heal her face trauma.
    Prayers for Jill and her family as they comfort and support one another.
    Prayers for Robert as he waits good news about his condo pruchase.
    Prayers for Mary and her father, may hs appetite improve.
    Prayers that Marcy has been released from the hospital.
    Prayers for Connie and may she post a missive soon.
    Prayers and blessings and warm hugs and thanks for prayers dear UR family

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling May 9, 2019, 9:28 am

    My bedtime prayer habit consists mostly of Thanksgiving.

    Thank you all for your prayers.

    Bought dad prawn paste chicken wings but he ate only one.

    Prayers for Robert, Julie, Jill, Andrea, Gail,
    Bonnie, Margie, Marcy and all who visit.
    May God’s will be done in our lives and may we be filled with His love, joy and peace!

  • Barbara May 9, 2019, 9:59 am

    We changed the prayer to substitute for the “if I should die before I wake..” to say either :”may angels watch me through the night and wake me with the morning light” or “God’s love surround me through the night and wake me with the morning light”
    Both were much more comforting to my children and granddaughter.

  • Edy May 9, 2019, 11:01 am

    I do have a bedtime habit of listing 5 things for which I am grateful each day. When I was a kid my mom taught me that prayer to say Now I lay me down to sleep… and we always said grace before meals. Bless us oh Lord and these thy gifts…. at the very least I was taught to pray. What about all the children today that are not taught to pray??? I guess we have to continue pray for them. Thank you all so very much again for your prayers for Bill and me. He is recovering very well! PRAISE GOD!!praise HIM always!

  • Lynn G Winters May 9, 2019, 2:47 pm

    I say the prayer with my grandson, but instead of saying and “If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take”, we say, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, Keep me safely through the night and wake me with the morning light. Then we do God blesses and I sing an angel song that I made up.

  • Judith Lambert May 9, 2019, 9:37 pm

    For my children years ago:

    Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
    Guard me safely through the night and wake me in the morning light.

  • Jimmie Johnson May 10, 2019, 5:40 pm

    When my grandson was born, my daughter changed the night time prayer to end: When in the morning light I wake, Help me the path of Love to take. And he has!

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